West Indies bowler Gabriel banned over exchange with Root
The 30-year-old’s comments, the exact nature of which are not known, prompted the England captain to reply: “There’s nothing wrong with being gay.”
West Indies bowler Shannon Gabriel has been banned for the first four games of the one-day series against England after accepting a code of conduct charge relating to an exchange with Joe Root during the third Test.
The paceman was charged by on-field umpires Rod Tucker and Kumar Dharmasena after an incident on day three in St Lucia. Gabriel’s precise words are not known, but England captain Root was heard on stump microphones responding with “don’t use it as an insult. There’s nothing wrong with being gay”.
Gabriel did not contest the charge, which related to “personal abuse”, in a brief post-match meeting with match referee Jeff Crowe, but Press Association Sport understands he does not believe himself guilty of homophobic slurs.
The 30-year-old Trinidadian was fined 75 per cent of his match fee and handed three demerit points, taking his total to eight in a two-year period following previous offences against Pakistan and Bangladesh.
That left him facing a ban of either four limited-over internationals or two Tests and he will miss all but one match of the 50-over series against England as a result.
His name was not in the original one-day squad announced for the first two games against England, but, with Keemo Paul injuring his quadricep in the third Test and Rovman Powell also a fitness doubt, the Windies intended to draft him in for all five matches. He previously missed a Test against Bangladesh in November 2018 on disciplinary grounds.
Cricket West Indies is understood to be comfortable with the International Cricket Council’s application of the rules in this instance, provided the zero tolerance approach is applied across the board in future.
It has been noted that Gabriel’s comments were not caught on the microphone and the ICC has effectively set a precedent for future charges relating to on-field exchanges between players.
Root received glowing plaudits for his response to Gabriel, made in the process of compiling a century, with fellow sportsmen, politicians and LGBT equality charity Stonewall all applauding his stance.
He declared himself content with his reaction in the heat of the moment, but declined to heap further pressure of his opponent afterwards, praising the good spirit in evidence across the three-match series, which the Windies won 2-1.
“The ICC have got to handle things and I am not in a position to comment, but throughout the series it has been played in the right manner between the two sides,” Root said.
“They are a good bunch of guys and it would be a shame if this tarnishes it. As a player you feel you have responsibilities to uphold on the field and I stand by what I did. I just did what I thought was right. You have responsibility to go about things in a certain manner on the field and it felt appropriate to act how I did.”
England head coach Trevor Bayliss later outlined his uneasiness with the deployment of the stump microphone.
Gabriel may have got away with a verbal warning had Root’s words not been picked up and broadcast and Bayliss hinted he would have been happy for that to be the case.
“No, I’m not in favour of (stump mics being turned up) and I’m not going to change my mind,” he said.
“If stump mics were around a few years ago there would be some blokes seen as holier than thou who would have been in trouble as well. I think it should be turned down.
“I know there are people who think the opposite and think it is good for the game but sometimes in the heat of battle things are said and when guys given a bit of time to sit down and think about it they would give themselves a bit of a kick up the backside.”
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